THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 103

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 103

…“Is that the last one?” It so happens that Sampson’s mother’s brother’s nephew was an undertaker back on Earth…

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The Mortician by Ezekiel Crowe deviantart.com

With Sampson obsessed by the microcosm/engine room, Celeste’s medical training has shouldered the grizzly task of logging/identifying the many vacuous uniforms that held the long-dead Newfoundlian  crew. She was determined to give them a proper burial outside the ship, if that was their custom or not. “We will not lose our humanity out here Sam. If Earth’s flag is to be planted here, we will have given a good account of our kind.”

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Grave Digger by Karyn

Sammy Mac does not spend all his time tinkering with other civilizations high-tech machinations, lest he ignore his part in the burial process or his marital good fortune. He does the digging; he does the hauling he gathers rocks for marking the mass grave, made to hold the four score Newfoundlians in total.

“Is that the last one?” It so happens that Sampson’s mother’s brother’s nephew was an undertaker back on Earth and young Sam would help with the family business while visiting. That experience gave him the inspiration to do something else with his life, like join the Air Force & ultimately NASA.

“Yes and no,” she answers.

“Come on Celeste, my bad back is flaring up.”

“You don’t have a bad back and I saved back the one we deemed as Newfoundlian Commander for posterity, he is in their supposed infirmary.

“Also, there is one cabin I could not get into. From what I can tell, the door is jammed.”

“Let’s take a look at it; I don’t want to have to do this again.”

“You were so busy in the engine room, I didn’t tell you about a lower level I found,” she admits as she guides them down a hidden passage.

“But we are on ground level??????”watch-your-head

“I know…….watch your……..”

Thuddddddd!!!!

“…head. It’s pretty cramped down here.”

“Thanks for the warning pal,” he rubs his forehead.

“I figure this is life-support and storage, notice the ducting?”

“My head did.”

At the end of the narrow hall, they come to the jammed door. It was like every other one on the ship, but it does respond to Celeste’s black onyx decoder-scrambler-door-opener or even flinch at the pinging note A of the tuning fork.

“I’ve tried every code I know, or have guessed,” she demonstrates thumb movements she has used before.

A typically male reaction to a stuck door is to use the escalating force method, Image result for samsonwhich his Biblical (minus the “p”) namesake exhibits time and again; this Sampson does not have long hair or the strength needed here.

“Just a second Honey,” Celeste pauses to clear her throat. From out of her voice box comes out an acceptable middle C.

Low and behold the utilitarian slide-by opens w-i-d-e.


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 103


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 101

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 101

…”I don’t know what I love, been chasing after the brass ring so long, I have lost track of my North Star.”

Roy points to the early night sky and Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor…

north-star

“I have been avoiding my fiancée, some boring media banquet he wanted me to go to. Sometimes he treats me like a station commodity, not a future wife.”

“It sounds like you don’t see things his way.” Roy dares to test her loyalty.

“We are speaking different languages these days” True feelings bubble to the surface. “I think I have become his pet project, but that’s why I have a talent agent wedding-invite-001and I have no need of two.”

“Have you set a wedding date,” he forces the issue?

“A date, we’ve had 4 June dates and counting; not in the same year and I have managed to tiptoe into July every time,” like it is a Girl Scout badge. “Aren’t you going to ask me if I love him? I don’t know what I love, been chasing after the brass ring so long, I have lost track of my North Star.”

Roy points to the early night sky and Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor.

Francine nods and goes on,“He has done a lot for me, but we are losing touch, both kinds.”

“Sometimes that happens,” like Roy has ever been serious about a girl since his high school physics teacher.

interuptus

Deke and Gus choose this moment to settle a dispute, “Didn’t you choose Mom & Dad to go to Mars because they were the best astronauts for the job? Bobby says that his Dad told him that it was for advertising.publicity-stunt

“That would be a publicity stunt, Gus and no that is false. A husband/wife team was first put on the table years ago,” Roy directs his recollection at Bobby.

“My father said they flat-out screwed up,” a 15 year old’s blather.

Francine steps in, “I think your father should get his facts straight! Who is he to say something like that?”

talk-bubble-001Roy leans over to whisper in her ear.

“Then he needs to get his facts straight, nobody screwed up here.”

“What Miss Bouchette means is that the Senator from Oklahoma needs to reconsider his position, pending the results of our internal investigation.” He puts his arm around Bobby’s scrawny neck. “The entire world is rallying in support of Gus’ Mom & Dad.”

“THE 1st people on Mars and we are damned proud of them!!!” punctuates Deke, who has been encouraged never to swear… but there are exceptions.

Endless Space Video Game

Adolescent squabbles are best settled over high-tech video consoles. Bobby apologizes to the adults and off they go to the house.

“Thank you for defending Sampson & Celeste with such vigor.”

“I hope to have the privilege of meeting them soon,” she is sincere.

“I’ll hold you to that.”


 

THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 101


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 94

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 94

…Now that’s what I want to hear… enthusiasm – enthusiasm…

Image result for enthusiasm painting

Brittle Enthusiasm by Polly Castor

“The President says that there will be no second Space Colony until Sammy Mac and Cel are back on Earth!”

“Is this a repeat of what went on in the 20-teens? Feed the people and starve the christopher-columbus-001space program, how shortsighted is that? Yeah, let’s try to privatize space again, we all know how that turned out; that’s like sending out Christopher Columbus with two dinghies and a canoe. By the time they get done with the Washington push-pull, a Martian colony will not be feasible, hell then we might as well shoot for the stars.”

“Not necessarily Roy, they (the McKinneys) could be debriefed en route from Mars and we could have the main body completed by then; no reason we couldn’t have #2 in place by the end of ’31.”

“A year behind schedule and not manned by our 1st string people!” Crip’s biorhythm readings are lowered to somewhere between Custer at Little Bighorn and the Captain of the Titanic; surrounded by 2000 fighting Indians & the Promenade deck listing at 45º in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic.

“Maybe they are right Braden. We had a serious breach of security at the very least and when the smoke clears from the inquiry, I will be working 2nd shift IT at an El Paso Automated Warehouse.”

 

“Look my friend, we are not going to let you anywhere near some half-baked witch-hunt, so I have a proposal,” Braden does what a friend does best; he tosses out a life preserver. “Come up to the Ranch (King) for a little R&R. I have a reluctant filly I’d like you to break.”

“That’s not in my wheelhouse right now. I would probably get thrown and break my back, neck, and both arms trying to cushion the fall.”

space-birthday-001“We will be expecting you on Wednesday the boys’ birthday bash and bring your bedroll.”Related image

“Hey, I can’t disappoint my biggest fans!”

“Now that’s what I want to hear…enthusiasm — enthusiasm.”


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Episode 94


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 93

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 93

…the insurance carriers for Space Colony 1 are not in the mood to pay off — there will be no second Space Colony until Sammy Mac and Cel are back on Earth…

insurance-001

“Two of your biggest fans got their 2 hours sleep and have been glued to KHST ever since. I don’t know if you know it, but live coverage of the launch went black about the10-1 time that you were guys were outnumbered 10 to 1. What a fright to see everything you do go down,” Braden King relates.

“How did she get the digital feed… never mind,” Francine likely made off with the footage like she walked away from Roy’s kiss.

“In fact, here is Deke McKinney with something to ask you.”

Vertical-001“That was some spicy tacos Uncle Roy; you saved the day for Mom & Dad!”

“Yeah,” Gus beaks in, “and we want to have you at our birthday party on Wednesday, maybe you can bring that hot TV reporter with you?”

“I’d love to boys, but I’ll see what I can do. I will need to get Space Colony II construction going as soon as I can fire up the production line.

For the first time in 10 minutes Braden goes silent, his end of the 1-to-1 video betraying his concern. “What’s up King? Do not be holding back on me.”

“I hate to throw cold water on your morning, but the insurance carriers for Space Colony 1 are not in the mood to pay off, at least until there is a complete investigation to what caused the accident; a meteor strike falls into the category of the “Acts of God” exemption.”

“We’ll see about that bullcrap! If they can finance the second and third Panama Canal, they can cough up the dough for us.”

“That may be so Roy, but even with the funding, Congress is convening an emergency session, called by Senator Jomayra Jiménez from Puerto Rico and you know where she thinks the money should be spent instead?”

“Sure, flush it down into a crumbling tourist-trap!”

“President Sanchez is going along with her and word has it that there will be no second Space Colony until Sammy Mac and Cel are back on Earth.”


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 93


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 84

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 84

…“Are you saying that that is a real universe in a container?”

abstract-universe

Abstract Universe by Wabi Sabi Kate

Celeste stalks the finite inverse cones, believing not that it contains a universe of matter, but a quantity of matter that makes up the universe, which continues to grow while pushing the bounds of the room.

Finally able to speak Celeste asks, “Why isn’t it pouring out of this room?”

“I’m not sure but I am guessing that this fog has something to do with it.” He sweeps his hand through it, capturing then releasing it like the tangible material it is.

“Are we looking through a window or is this an open door,” Celeste wonders aloud.

“If it were a real door, we’d be waist deep in asteroids not gas.”bottle-001

“Are you saying that that is a real universe in a container?”

“Since I’ve been watching this stew, I’ve seen the birth of a star, monstrous passing comets, and strange inhabited worlds,” he stands on the brink transfixed. “Just don’t ask me how this is possible.”

“If not how, then where, when, and why?”

Where? – I don’t think this has anything to do with Mars directly, or anywhere close; pick a star any star.

When? – Judging by accelerated pace of this microcosm, we may be looking back as far as the birth of Jesus Christ, or whenever these people died, thousands of years.

“”Why? – Why that may be the easiest of all, that we meet here on Mars sharing on common goal; for us it is reaching out toward the stars, for them Mars was a steppingstone on their way to encounter other intelligent life.”to-from-001

“They were on their way to Earth, weren’t they?”

“Or they ran smack-dab into a virus here and died because of it, like a reverse epidemic that spelled the end of the Inca’s, Mayan’s or any of many  other civilizations, big or small.”“Or how about on their way back from Earth??”

“And we both have failed, each in our way,” Celeste reflects.

Ironically put, intriguingly postulated.


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Episode 84


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 83

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 83

“Don’t get too close Sam!” a strange mist emanates out 3-dimensionally, swirling and pulsating as if dancing to music…

The “thingy” inadvertently drops to the deck of the engine room from waist level.

Bboinnngggg…… tool and floor combine to fashion a perfect key of A. “Oops.” The pitch did not startle the pair, as they turn to nose around elsewhere… though the humming noise that followed, after taking a half-dozen steps, does.

HHHhhhuuuMMMMmmmmmmmmm…..

Newfoundlander Engine Room

They freeze in their tracks, turning slowly, very slowly to take a peek. A panel, on one side of the upper cone opens, which by itself is fortuitous, paling in comparison to what it reveals.

“Don’t get too close Sam!” at a comfortable distance, from back at the entrance, a strange mist emanates out 3-dimensionally, swirling and pulsating as if dancing to music. The cloud sinks to waist height; neck high for the Newfoundlians as if a whirlpool in slow motion. All they can do is stand perfectly still and hope it is no more lethal than the air, the water or the food…. it isn’t, it doesn’t, it won’t.Related image

Hand-in-hand they begin walking through the haze to its source, like bugs to a light. This is the very essence of why man on Earth decided to venture out into space. Detractors call it expansionism, minimalists call it greed but above all, a spade must be called a spade; the desire to see what is on the other side, whether it be a mountain or a faraway star.

Two sets of eyes wide open, stare into the mouth of a yawning abyss, the 5′ x 8′ unknown – looking more like the edge of eternity. If they had not been here to see it in person, it may well have been an artist’ rendering or cinematographers’ CGI masterpiece.


THE RETURN TRIP

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Conquering the Sun’s Empire by Harry Lange

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 81

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 81

..the flavor of the food is analogous to “the chef” telling you that calamari tastes just like chicken or the wisdom of  Popeye the Sailor coming up with scientific evidence that spinach gives you superhuman strength.

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Singing Chef by Vickie Wade

 

“Not bad, but lay off speaking in gobbledigook {Newfoundlian}. Because I can’t read your lips.”

With his initial inhibitions decreased, two different colors are selected, Alpha Centauri-amber and dark matter-mauve. A longer rendition of what sounds like an alien remix precedes the arrival of his selection, again whooshing open, exposing a 2-dish assortment of steaming nourishment. It is unrecognizable, but it isn’t moving and is marginally aromatically tempting.

Cupbearer to the King

Again, with the aid of the air-water-food scrutinizer, “Enzyme modified something, xanthan concentrate, autolyzed extract, and hydrogenated disodium phosphorate. gobbledigook {you first}

“Where are the knives and forks,” Celeste asks pretentiously?

“Use your fingers until and when I can find the right colors to push. You know we cannot be sure how these guys consumed their food; for all we know they may stuff it into their stomachs through a navel valve.”

“Assuming they have navels.”

“Do you want to do an autopsy on one of them?”

“Not before we eat Sam… you don’t want me to lose my dinner, seeing I am eating for two.”

“Or more.”

“Stop yourself and eat!”

Describing the flavor of the food is analogous to “the chef” telling you that calamari tastes just like chicken or the wisdom of  Popeye the Sailor coming up with scientific evidence that spinach gives you superhuman strength; to each his own.

“Eat, eat, there is plenty more!”

When cast in that subjective light, the food they sample aboard the NEWFOUNDLANDER is an acquired palate, as opposed to Grandma Sally’s home cooking. Overall the adage cliché “never look a gift-horse in the mouth” applies on this distant planet and you are going to run out of your own food.

Sampson makes mental notes of all his happy-finger combinations while using the magical-meal-machine, as he calls it. They can only hope to get better at working it… perhaps some Italian? —

— Energized and ever curious, the two-remaining visitors on Mars press on to the depths of the alien ship…


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